Havin’ some feels and things, because reasons.

I’ve been feeling a little discouraged (okay, a lot discouraged) by some of the attitudes brought out by Heroes of Cosplay, etc. First, criticisms from folks who haven’t seen it. That doesn’t seem fair to me. We say in elementary school that it’s only fair to refuse something after you’ve had a "no, thank you" portion. IOW, you gotta TRY it at least.

And then, from the folks who have seen it who are so negative about it. Maybe I’m just trying to stick to the old "if you don’t have anything nice to say" adage, but I also didn’t see it as negative. I saw it as real. It’s one of the most realistic reality TV shows I’ve seen in a long time.

I was SO in every one of those positions and perspectives at some point in my cosplay ‘career.’ Now, they’re not all healthy, but they’re part of the reality. I don’t understand hiding what it can really be like. People are saying that it is or is going to give cosplay a bad name, but I don’t understand that. To me, it wouldn’t be right to say it’s all rainbows and unicorns (besides the MLP cosplayers, hurhur ^.~) all the time – that would be a lie, and a great disservice to those who aren’t familiar with cosplay.

It’s like anything else. It’s beautiful and ugly at the same time. There’s conflict. There are amazing moments of synergy and cooperation. There’s anxiety and triumph. There’s disappointment. The show displayed some great positivity; it also showed some of the most negative reactions.

Yes, it was majorly about competitions. That’s going to carry a lot of dramatic weight and make for exciting television. Some people love to compete. I love to compete because I love to be on stage – I have a background in music and it shows. That’s MY perspective, but I would never expect everyone else’s perspective to be the same. The feeling of winning is gratifying. And I have had those moments where I was upset because I felt someone won who didn’t deserve it (I like to think that’s in my past, but who knows what the future will bring?). I’m so impressed that some of the participants in the show had the balls to come out and admit that! It’s an ugly feeling (for me at least), but it’s also real.

And the time and cast is limited. They can’t cover the hundreds of thousands of cosplayers out there. They have six (six? Did I count right?) [Edit: Nine.  I read the synopsis, durhur]. They have to be on coasts because that’s where TV happens. Maybe if this is successful, there will be more and better coverage. There are a lot of things that are the way they are because that’s how TV is made (I’ll tell you what, I wish there were more home decorating & landscaping shows in the US interior, I could sure use some help!). They can’t speak for everyone. But they took a good sample. Hopefully there will be more.

[Edit: It was identified that the cast is mostly white females, which of course doesn’t make for an appropriate cross-section.  I was referring to the sample of perspectives, attitude, and areas of expertise.   Food for thought.]

And at the last, some semantics. Those cosplayers ARE heroes. Each one of them, for their own reasons. But EVERY cosplayer is a hero. It takes guts to put on a costume. It takes heart to put yourself out there. And any one of those people who were on the show would tell you that every cosplayer – every level, every perspective – is a hero.

Maybe it’s me. I’m an optimist. I see the good in things, most of the time. It’s a perspective that works for me. But I’m also a realist, and that can still jive with the optimistic perspective. I can go back 15 years and see from that perspective, and see these important folks having to make the same difficult choices as I did, I can watch them feel anxious and triumphant and appreciated and afraid, just like I did – and do. That made it very positive for me, to know that all those feelings I had and still have are out there in other people’s brains. To know that my perspective was always valid. That makes the show itself valid. They did a great job.

[Again compiled from FB posts, etc.]

Review: Heroes of Cosplay, Episode One

(As compiled from several Facebook posts and subsequently edited to make more sense and follow some kind of grammatical logic.  Hurhur.)

I love it. I love the vast variation of skills and experience and perceptions and behaviors. All the feelings, all the experiences, all the perceptions, it was all so VALID. It honestly reminded me of my earlier days in cosplay, when competing was a priority for me.

No, it wasn’t all pretty. Anyone who’s cosplayed for any amount of time KNOWS it’s not always pretty. No, I wouldn’t have made the choices that others would have made, but that’s why it’s so awesome – it’s another perspective! And each one of them is valid. The joy of success. The tragedy of disappointment. Priorities and perspective are totally different for each person.  That’s real.  Some of it was hard to watch because I KNOW THOSE FEELS.

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My first costume, Super Sailormoon from Sailormoon, made in 1998 (Photo from NDK 1999).  I had on two wigs. For realies.

I swear I’ve been every one of the competitors shown over the last 15 years that I have been cosplaying. I felt like I got gypped, I felt like a performer, I felt successful, I felt like I swept, I felt like I had a rockin’ good time and that was all I cared about. All of those things. All of them.

And I’ve been the bitch. And I’ve been the one hurt by the bitch (or bastard, as it were). I’ve been the grown-up princess with the little girl who loved me for who SHE thought I was. I’VE been the little girl meeting a princess I love. I’ve been incomplete, overdrawn, stressed, blissful, grateful, exhilarated. I think HoC portrayed that perfectly, honestly.

And on top of that, there were any numbers of really amazing tips and tricks – costuming at a professional level!  Automotive paint, head moulds, embroidery machines.  So much to learn and try.

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Rosa of Final Fantasy IV (DS) done in 2008 for Dragon*Con.

It was inspiring. I want to go up to my studio and work. I want the back yard to be done so I can convert the garage into a shop. I want to compete again. I want to be on stage. Yaya Han & company, you should be proud. I am.  I am proud to be a part of this beautiful, fun, dysfunctional, nutty and nerdy community.  I love it.  All of it.

Also love DJ Spider’s take, and I can’t agree more.  Read it here!

Watch the show Mondays on SyFy.

A World Less Magical

sophie-green05Over the weekend, one of my favorite and one of the most delightful writers of YA fantasy passed away, Diana Wynne Jones.  She was of course the author of Howl’s Moving Castle, which became quite famous after the production of the Ghibli film of the same name, but her wealth of other literature was equally amazing.  Her close friend and fellow author, Neil Gaiman, has written a lovely blog entry about her passing and their magical relationship.

Even though I came rather late to Diana’s fantasy party after seeing Howl, I still loved her books once read, and look very forward to sharing them with my future students and children.  I was of course inspired by the movie to make several of Sophie’s dresses, and always intended to make a dress more in the style of Diana’s description from the book, Sophie of the red-gold hair and drab grey dress.  Maybe this will be the year to do it, in her honor.

Thank you for your worlds and words of magic, Diana Wynne Jones!  You have been so inspiring.  Enjoy walking over rooftops.

Refia, finally!

A quick (and hilarious) shot from Animeland Wasabi of my Refia costume.

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I love tea from Starbucks.  I need a slightly different wig, as this one was a bit light and definitely too short.  But otherwise it was a great, comfy, fun costume!  Love it!

Additionally, I plan on participating in the For Japan With Love Bloggers Day of Silence on Friday.  Bloggers will keep a day of silence for the people of Japan, as well as direct donations toward shelter boxes.  Don’t forget that you can also donate by text to Red Cross, or donate via your PayPal account, like I did this morning. =)

Weekend of Fun!

I was busy on Friday checking in people at the cosplay contest at Animeland Wasabi here in Denver, hence my lack of post!  I will resume regularly posting this week, but here’s a quick shot of where I was!

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Not the greatest shot, taken from my phone, but it was a wonderful time and a very successful contest!

Also want to mention, of course, to please pray for and send support to Japan in any way you can.  We wouldn’t have cosplay as we know it without the Japanese culture that influenced it, so please show your appreciation!  You can text 90999 to REDCROSS to make an instant $10 donation or visit the Red Cross’ website for more information.

thing-a-day twenty-six: finally fitted

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There we go!  A nip and a tuck here and we’ve got a better fitting dress.  This is the lining, with edits pinned.

Wonder what’s going on with my funny dressed dressform?  Well, it’s not exactly my size, so I padded it with some extra fabric and an old, er, undergarment.  Fixed!

thing-a-day twenty-one: Refia’s dress pattern

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I started out the day patterning from what turned out to be entirely the wrong starting point; I made a too-huge mess of an unfitted top, and decided to start over.  I cannibalized a different pattern that I KNEW fit well, redrew it, and that’s ready for cutting tomorrow.

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thing-a-day twenty: Refia’s boot cuffs

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Into the twenties we go!  Just eight days left!  I believe I will be able to finish Refia’s costume in this last week; that’ll be my goal for the end of this experience!

I purchased these great boots and only needed to add a white cuff to them to create the effect in the images of the character.  A bit of the main dress fabric lined with some leftover white satin and done!  They’re even removable, set in temporarily with washable hem tape so I can wear the boots without them in the future.

I’ll be wearing this to Animeland Wasabi next month if you’ll be there, so keep an eye out for me (but look fast ‘cause I’ll be gone in another second, organizing the cosplay contest again!).  See you there!

thing-a-day seventeen: Refia’s Brooch

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I’ve started working on Refia from Final Fantasy III.  Since I’ve made other faux metal and armor from craft foam and had a lot of success, I decided to go that route with this small piece.  It’s made of two layers, one for the base, and the other with the cross shape.  The entire piece is covered with white glue which stiffens the foam and makes it smooth for spray painting.  A little gold spray paint, and it’s done!

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thing-a-day four: finished!

And here’s the finished project… a Regency dress!

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I had the fabric in my collection, though only about a yard of each, which wasn’t going to be quite enough for a skirt.  I was able to work through the long underskirt by making the hidden part underneath the blue overskirt from another fabric.  I’m loving the accents of the front bow, pink sleeve cuffs, and the rose pearl buttons on the back!